Vancouver Whitecaps are again at B.C. Place, with their backs towards the wall

There is not any extra room for errors or experiments because the Whitecaps stare down a must-win recreation towards LAFC of their first-round playoff collection.

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It’s recreation time, but the time for video games is over.

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The Vancouver Whitecaps went to Los Angeles final week with an aggressive, but hopeful technique to steal a win in Sport 1 of their best-of-three collection with LAFC, attempting to copy the success they’d of their regular-season go to in June. Sport 1 was a recreation they might afford to lose, as a result of Sport 2 was all the time assured.

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And the plan labored, to a level, with the sport solely getting out of hand due to a season-long incapability to restrict targets off of set-piece possibilities getting supercharged by L.A., who scored 4 instances out of these conditions in a 5-2 win.

The Caps led the league with 18 targets conceded off of set items, however had shored up that side of the defence in current weeks.

So the collection now turns to Sport 2 at B.C. Place on Sunday, with no extra room for error, no margin for set-piece sloppiness, nothing to do however win or go residence.

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“I feel we had really an excellent begin,” Vancouver head coach Vanni Sartini mentioned of final Saturday’s recreation, which noticed the Caps rally twice from LAFC targets. “It’s not a matter of a begin, it’s a matter of conserving the standard for the total 90 minutes. Final week, we had this concept this was the Joker recreation … so it was extra aggressiveness and be relentless.

“This week is the opposite means round. We have to be excellent tactically, we have to be very structured as a way to restrict them. If we do that with the standard that we have now, we will create drawback to them and I feel we have now a very good likelihood to win.”

“That is all or nothing. It’s do or die,” added ahead Junior Hoilett. “All people’s centered and remaining centered. We’re again on our residence turf, the place we all know what we will do.”

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Sport 1: LAFC 5, Whitecaps 2

Sport 2: LAFC vs. Whitecaps

Sunday, 4:30 p.m., B.C. Place 

TV: Apple TV, TSN, RDS. Radio: AM730.

Sport 3: Whitecaps vs. LAFC (If essential)

Nov. 9, 7 p.m., BMO Stadium

TV: Apple TV. Radio: AM730

This yr’s first-round playoff format means the Caps don’t have to fret about combination targets — a blessing, after giving up 5 final week — however video games tied after regulation go straight to penalties, with no additional time.

An excessively cautious coach would possibly take into account taking part in defensively and taking their possibilities in a shootout towards a extra gifted group, however that conservative mindset has scuttled two of the Whitecaps’ previous playoff runs, which left enduring scars on the fan base and colored the legacy of former gaffer Carl Robinson.

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The Caps may be buoyed by the truth that they’re on a five-game undefeated streak at residence towards L.A. (4-0-1), with the 4 wins previous the 1-1 Choice Day tie final month all coming in low-scoring affairs: two 2-1 choices and two 1-0 outcomes.

“I feel that the format dictates the best way that you just strategy the sport. And to any extent further, even when we win, each recreation might be do or die, we have to strategy the sport prefer it was a conventional playoff recreation,” mentioned Sartini. “It must be an ideal recreation once more the place we keep within the recreation as a lot as we will. So once more I repeat myself, however it’s gonna be a recreation the place construction over being relentless (is) far more vital.”

Hoilett was requested what he would say to the youthful gamers on the group about how these stakes can have an effect on you, however his reply was related to the group as an entire.

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“Simply stay calm. Do what you realize to do,” he mentioned. “Don’t change, don’t go on the market and alter what you’re good at. Stick with what you realize and play along with your head held excessive. There’s nothing that we have now to go on the market and show. We simply go play our recreation and convey it to them.”

That’s what they did of their June 24 upset of LAFC, scoring early, constructing a lead, then defending staunchly to the top in a 3-2 win.

Of their 2022 victory, Andres Cubas first helped deflect an L.A. offensive avalanche — they’d 23 pictures and a 3.9 xG — earlier than the Paraguay worldwide scored his first objective within the 89th minute.

The yr earlier than, a Diego Rossi penalty in first-half damage time gave the guests the lead, earlier than Brian White tied issues up within the sixtieth minute and Ryan Gauld clinched it, once more with an 89th-minute winner.

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“We’ve been good at residence all season. We’ve really been first rate towards LAFC within the league,” mentioned Gauld. “Clearly we don’t wish to be taking part in catch-up. We don’t wish to be going behind and having an enormous uphill battle.

“However I feel what issues most has been being stable defensively after which, at residence, we all the time create possibilities, so … we’re gonna need to do extra of the identical.”

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